The Blue Star Review
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From the first time he saw beautiful, raven-haired Chrissie Steppe getting off the bus that brought her to school from her home on the mountain, Jim Glass knew that he was in love with her. It was a feeling that he’d never felt before—not even with Norma, the girl that everyone (especially Norma and his mother) expected him to marry.

But Jim soon finds that falling in love is complicated—especially since Chrissie belongs to Jim’s former baseball teammate, Bucky Bucklaw. Bucky has become a local hero since he left town to join the navy, and his family is keeping a close eye on his girl, Chrissie—which isn’t very hard, since she and her mother and her grandparents live on the Bucklaws’ land.

With the Second World War looming on the horizon, Jim and his friends make their way through their senior year of high school, unaware of how drastically all of their lives are about to change.

The follow-up to Earley’s bestseller, Jim the Boy, The Blue Star is the kind of book that you rarely find these days. It’s a simple yet thoughtful novel that reads like a well-loved classic. Its simplicity and sincerity will remind you of those books that you wrote reports about in school—the ones that you didn’t truly appreciate until you went back and read them again, as an adult.

The Blue Star tells a moving coming-of-age story that’s slow and smooth, moving along at the calm and relaxed pace of a thick Southern drawl. Jim is a lovably naïve young character—and as you get to know him, you’ll remember feeling the same fervent teenage determination that he feels. You’ll also understand the frustration he feels as he begins to discover that life isn’t as plain and simple as he always thought it was—and that the people around him aren’t always as they seem to be.

As the story comes to a close, The Blue Star leaves the future of its characters uncertain. It offers a bit of hope—but it’s also certain that things for Jim, the young man, will have to get worse before they can get better. I have a feeling, though, that the story will continue in Earley’s next novel.

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